Ideology is the way people think about the world and how they view one to live an ideal life. The way that I was raised and the people that have influences upon my life have made my ideologies different from others around the world. Ideology is the set of norms in which a community lives by, it is a common set of accepted ideas and one’s way of life. The way we live our lives becomes a subconscious way of behaving and viewing things around us, it in essence develops into our ‘common sense’. Although we are unaware of our ideologies when intermixed with our own community, we become aware of our own when we are around a person with a new set of ideologies. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania with a very small and close nit community. Until I reached a certain age, it seemed as though I lived in a bubble with the same people and the same beliefs. I went shopping and wore whatever style of clothing that interested me and never got shut down by my mother if my legs or shoulders were showing. When I was a freshman in high school, I met a girl who today is one of my best friends. She had a very different set of ideologies than my own. Her family had moved to the United States from India a few years ago and to her it was unacceptable for her legs or arms to be showing when she reached a certain age as a woman. These are a new set of beliefs, a new set of ideas that to her were so common in India became more aware upon moving to the United States. My own ideologies became conscious myself as I thought about my closet full of different styles. No ideology is right or wrong, they are just different and people learn from the their youngest years what they believe to be their norm.
This weeks discussion on Monday really had me thinking. It’s amazing how much we overlook in the grand spectrum because we view them as normal or just part of the every day way of life. I remember in class Professor Seaman talked about how someone who had never seen our streets asked what were the lines in the road. We just don’t really think about those things, but to someone else who has never seen them, it’s something that really stands out. I wonder what else is slipping under our noses. It’s actually kind of scary to see how much we miss or what we consider unimportant in our every day life.
I’ve always known that the world has been filled with close-mindedness. I think everyone in some way has a certain degree of close-minded or prejudice that’s there, even if they don’t realize it.
As much as I like to think I’m an open-minded person to all things, but what am I overlooking and how could affect other people? I’m sure there’s plenty of things that pass us by, but I can’t help but wonder what things we could be missing that are really outstanding or significant.
I think it would be really interesting to have someone who was completely unbiased and knew nothing of my personal life or culture come follow me for a day and tell me how he/she sees it. Maybe they could point out the things I haven’t noticed yet. That would be really awesome. How would someone else view our lives if they weren’t familiar with our lifestyles? It would be amazing to finally see all the things we don’t notice that are right in front of us.
I’m not sure how I feel about the idea that ideology is instinctual because it is so ingrained. An instinct is something that comes naturally and many ideologies just shouldn’t come naturally, but I can definitely see that this happens in our own culture and in many other cultures.What I think is interesting is how ideologies differ from one society to another. Muslims live in both the Middle East and in America but the ideologies that this group of people support differ greatly from one country to another. This difference can be greatly contributed to the difference in governing bodies that encourage various ideals, but it is still interesting to look at how a person of Muslim descent who has lived their whole life in somewhere like Britain would respond to life as a Muslim in Saudi Arabia, specifically life as a Muslim woman.
The first thing I thought about when sitting down to write this blog was a book I read a couple summers ago entitled In the Land of Invisible Women.” The novel is about a woman, a very intelligent woman who gets the opportunity to practice medicine in Saudi Arabia. She is of Muslim descent but many of the ideologies present in land that one can consider strange in comparison with Britain are nothing like those she grew up experiencing. Her time in Saudi Arabia was definitely a culture shock because she lost much of the freedom that she was accustomed to always having.
Although this woman had many things in common with the religious practices of the people in Saudi Arabia, her ideologies were very different from those present in this country. She had never been ingrained with the idea that women were unequal to men and that it was natural for her to cover her face and need a male escort at all times, therefore, it was not something that was instinctual for her. She had to grow accustomed to the strange laws and regulations she was presented with and in my opinion, she never truly adapted to the ways of Saudi Arabians.
In Saudi Arabia, the government and many men make it natural for women to be treated as they are creating a specific ideology about how a woman should conduct herself in actions, dress, and even mindset. The practices are tolerated because they have become ideology. “Ideology is the making natural of cultural phenomena” (88).
I’m pretty grateful that we are addressing culture and ideologies and media in an English class. Speaking about such topics gets me too worked up and upset and most importantly makes me feel like I cannot do anything to change things, so I have steadfastly avoided giving into my natural interest in the way we communicate/what this “we” is/why we need to communicate/what we communicate about/etc/etc/etc. I am as of yet unable to channel such strong emotions efficiently and productively so I’ve just let them be, but it’s futile really because avoidance isn’t really my style. So, long and short, I’ve got plenty of bottled-up thoughts about the whole mess.
The media section in particular has been on my mind a lot recently. I skim the New York Times daily because it is free where I live and the clippings make nice decorations on my wall. My first issue with this is that a recent issue of the Times– the day of Qaddafi’s death, I believe– had a front and center story about how football can damage the brain. It had an entire “Homes” section about selling large apartments with small closets for optimum profit. It had easy to snag pull-out sections for Sports and Arts (mostly movies) but you had to lug the giant front section around to find any international, national, or New York news. It just seemed despicable to me, a terrible display of priorities that I fear is representative of today’s culture. We’re really devoting front-page space to old news about sport? Maybe if we ran out of news, that would make sense, but something about the revolutionary air these days tells me that is not the case. We’re worried about helping the rich profit off of their homes when the number of homeless people in rising to perilous heights? We make it more convenient to indulge in sports and movies interests than in vital news?
Daily, I read some of the stories in the NYT, not nearly as much as I should because of those feelings of crippling helplessness, but I still end up being more politically aware then a lot of people– not just peers– and that fact saddens me. I don’t think of this as a competition or anything, but it comes back to the base fact that apathy is prevalent. I usually skim the city paper at work, and recently I handed a page I tore from it about the race for mayor to a close friend majoring in International Relations, to which he glanced at it and responded, “Ehh that’s boring, I’m just going to go Stumble for a while instead. I pick the one with the glasses.” An International Studies student can’t be bothered with local politics? A close friend who can’t even pretend to care even if just to appease me? I love Stumble as much as the next person, but the nonchalance displayed is all too wretched and common. And, yeah, nice try, but three of the five candidates were pictured in glasses.
This rant ties into our discussion of media’s reciprocal relationship with society. It brings me to the Media 2.0 section. In the past, I’ve written off social networking and all internet communication as an outlet for low culture, but recently I have decided to embrace my desire to explore how it can be used meaningfully. The TT discussed about this very notion– using social networking as a reliable source of media– and it resonated strongly with me. I can honestly say that, despite my daily NYT skimming, I have found out about more of the big news stories of the past year through Facebook statuses than headlines. It’s not a wide reality, and it’s not as though every friend I have on Facebook is constantly posting high cultured content, but I don’t see why that belittles the fact that it CAN and HAS been used productively to any real extent.
Oh, and I love the implications of the different pronunciations of “ideology.” Emphasising the “id” brings out the root word, “idea.” Emphasising the “ol” makes the “id” part sound similar to the “id” in “idiot.” Heeheehee.
I found the discussion in class on Monday extremely interesting: I had never thought that the concept of ideology would be separated into two distinct sectors. Prescriptive ideology seemed to be the more interesting of the two, considering its bias and misrepresentations. As we talked about, providing a false understanding of information to the public in order to persuade them to think a certain way seems all too relevant for our culture. Ideas of propaganda and mass media misrepresentations are present today, and people seem to be more aware of social misconceptions. There are the over-zealous conspiracy theorists who make it their hobby–or, for some, their job–to obsess over the influence of the media or the government. Then, of course, there is also the uninformed or ignorant sector of society who go along with these misrepresentations and feed the media’s ability to misconstrue the truth. I suppose I am so fascinated with the idea of false ideology because of the well-known dystopia by George Orwell, 1984. His representation of the totalitarian society seems like a not-too-distant possibility for the future, especially if the public remains uninformed.
With regards to prescriptive ideology, I believe that it is almost impossible to have a society unaffected by a twist of the truth. The absolute truth cannot be administered at all times, and one cause of the misconception is the individual’s (or subject’s) tendency to prescribe their own feelings or thoughts onto a situation, event, person, etc. Unless a society existed in which no one had opinions, the inevitable truth about perspective ideology seems to be that it is unavoidable. That isn’t to say that it can be controlled to a certain degree and preventive measures such as increased and less-biased education/information; however, the difficulty of completing this task is immense–especially due to the amount of ignorant civilians.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Pat Buchanan.
Maybe it’s that austere look of his that’s splashed across http://buchanan.org, or maybe it the long list of blog entries that always seem to end with America ending up in flames because in the Census has projected that in 2041 the U.S. will no longer have a truly dominant race. Most likely, it’s that comment Dr. Seaman brought up in class that sums up the idea of his new book: “We were all separated, but we were one.”
It’s these kind of ideologies that are driving racism in America today. It’s not just Buchanan that has expressed these views. I come from rural Oklahoma, and I can tell you, my grandparents have reminisced about the ‘good ole days’, when ‘things were simpler’ way more than once What they often don’t mention though is just how monochromatic those times were. Things were simple, race wise, because they were never forced to truly interact. If I always knew calculus existed, acknowledged, but never had to deal with it, I might say calculus is simple to, because avoiding it makes my life a lot easier.
Obviously, comparing racism to hating math is not something I’m really trying to do, but I hope you see my point. I’m all for people upholding their ideologies, their cultures, etc, but when it comes at the expense of not just one person, but a whole race, I wish people would be considerate, or at least humble enough, to come forward and see that. I’m not really an idealist though, and I know that’s kind of a Miss America hope, but a girl can dream.Ultimately, I don’t believe Buchanan is intentionally racist, but that doesn’t hide the fact that his comments advocate a “separate but equal” kind of world. I keep finding it astonishing that 50 years later, there are still people that are completely ignorant that anyone was hurt by those blatantly racist policies.
The view of ideology as how things ought to be, as prescriptive, pertains to many pressing issues our society faces today. There seems to be a disconnect between how people think of certain problems, like college binge drinking for example, and “concrete explanations” for these problems (85). In regards to binge drinking on college campuses, Nealon and Giroux explain that many individuals place blame on low morals in students, poor parenting, and lack of enforcement of college rules. These reasons, especially the enforcement of laws on campus, are particularly addressed because college administrators can strengthen rules on campus and then the problem would seemingly by solved. Yet, as we discussed in class, the root of binge drinking does not stop at college and with young adults, alcohol abuse happens in any setting and at any age. I saw an article recently from Washington Post about Catholic University’s new plan to revert to single-sex dorms in an effort to stop underage drinking and promiscuous sex. By blaming the co-habitation of both genders, the University has found a practical response to this problem by eliminating co-ed dorms. I thought this article tied in with our discussion of binge drinking on campus because although Catholic University addressed their problem through changing the dorm styles, I feel the problem with young adults drinking and having sex connects to broader social ideas, for our culture has greatly integrated alcohol into our society so we don’t want to change its role in our culture.
Here’s a link to the article online if you’re interested in what it had to say: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/campus-overload/post/catholic-university-reverts-to-single-sex-dorms/2011/06/14/AGHbHjUH_blog.html