“If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans” – Week 5 Story Critique

To Vegan or not to Vegan? That seems to be a current question. It seems like you are either a hardcore vegan or you hate all things vegan.  Is there a middle ground?  I’m not sure as I have not found one.

This week I will be critiquing a YouTube video called “If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans.” This video is poking fun at the stereotype that all vegans are obsessed with their veganism; that they introduce that fact about themselves before they introduce their name; that they look down upon those who are not vegans.  This video is similar to other videos that focus on things like “if men acted like women,” or “if women catcalled men.”  While the intention of these videos, and the one I have chosen, is to be funny and not make people feel bad, I apologize if anyone is offended.  That was not my intention.


What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?

  • The authors/actors in this story are making a parody of things that vegans say to non-vegans.  The main guy has taken many arguments used by vegans to defend their lifestyle and turned them around.  For example, he is repulsed by a woman eating a salad, he asks for a tofu-flavored meat replacement for a meal, etc.

How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story?

  • The creator of this story is obviously aware of the stereotypes that exist about Vegans and so is able to create a “story-line” for his video making fun of these aspects.
  • Although it is not a vitally important debate to most people’s everyday lives, there does seem to be tension between vocal vegans and vocal non-vegans.  The authors of this story are aware of this hot topic and have used it to their advantage.

What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story?

  • I found this video on YouTube, and have come across many similar parody video through Facebook and Instagram.
  • The issue of a vegan diet, and whether or not it is a healthy choice, is often written/blogged about.  I have seen and read many articles in The New York Times, in Women’s Health Magazine, and in Health and Nutrition newsletters that address both benefits and risks associated with a vegan lifestyle.

Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?

  • I think this video could benefit from music.  At certain points there seems to be music in the background, but it is hard to hear and seems to distract from the story more than add to it.  Instead of having music on while filming the story, they could add music in after filming as they are editing the video.
  • I also think it could add to the humor of the parody if one of the “vegetable eaters” had a retort for what the Meat Eater said to them.  Or even a focus on their facial expression.

Week 5 – Reading Response

This week’s articles:

  1. “Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices” – Jenkins (2008)
  2. “Why Dieters Flock to Instagram” – Katie Rogers, The New York Times


“Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices”


This final chapter of Jenkins’ work, discusses the idea participatory culture.  Not only the importance of this type of learning for ourselves and our students, but also ways to instill this type of culture in our learning and the learning that occurs in our classrooms.

Participatory learning is one in which individuals are able to contribute to the learning of others, and they are left with a sense that their participation was meaningful in some way.  This description made me reflect a lot on my learning in this course. My learning in this class is made meaningful not only by the work that I do but also by the work that others contribute.  I think that educational communities like this one are so helpful.

An important inclusion in this chapter is Jenkins’ acknowledgement of the population of learners that are perhaps ‘left behind’ because of their lack of access to technology and the resources to be constantly connected.  I think it important and helpful that he introduces these following terms:

The digital divide: limits on technological access

The participation gap: limits on social and cultural experiences

While it is the dream that all schools, and therefore all students/learners, have access to the same resources and are able to learn these new (and wonderful) literacies to the same extent, I feel there is a long way to go until this happens.  Of course, this idea is not one of focus in Jenkins’ work, but it is absolutely one to keep in mind.

“Why Dieters Flock to Instagram”


Although I am not extremely involved in all types of social media, I love Instagram!  I admit, I like being able to share snapshots of cool experiences with my friends, or share parts of my life with people I have met abroad.  I was pleased to find an article that combined Instagram with my theme (and personal interest) Health and Nutrition.

In her article, Katie Rogers mentions an academic study called “Friending Your Way Thin.” This study focused on participants in an online weight-loss community. (An online weight-loss community is where people can post pictures, recipes, motivational thoughts, etc for others and can receive the same from others.  Participation can be anonymous or other members can know who you are, it depends on the site.) The findings of this study state that the individuals who were more active online lost more weight overall.  Incredible!

But why is an online presence, specifically on Instagram, so helpful to those seeking a healthier lifestyle?  Rogers thinks that social media is the “modern version of sticking photos on the fridge.”  That makes sense.

I do have a few personal thoughts on this matter:

  • I worry that Instagram and other social media would create a false sense of what people should aim for in their personal lives.  Just like magazine covers give young girls the wrong body image, so too can easily accessible hashtags that focus on #beachbody.
  • I applaud those who are able to post “before and after” pictures of themselves and continue to post pictures throughout their weight-loss/healthy lifestyle journey.  If I were in their shoes I would probably not be comfortable with sharing so much.

Overall however, if you find something that continues to give you motivation, stick with it!

Wonder Woman vs. Carbs

wonder woman carbs 2

For this week’s Mashup Assignment I combined a picture of Wonder Woman wielding a bow and arrow on top of a picture of lots of bread.

The motivation behind this image is interesting.  Diabetes runs in my family.  My parents, who are already very healthy and active, have recently added to their healthy lifestyle.  They have all but cut out simple carbohydrates from their diet.  What is a simple carbohydrate, you ask? For a comprehensive explanation of carbohydrates, click here.

Basically, simple carbohydrates turn to glucose (sugar) quickly and should be avoided.  Examples of simple carbs include: breads, crackers, cookies, chips, etc. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and provide more nutrients to the body; these should not be avoided.  Examples of complex carbs include: vegetables and fruits.

In learning more about the diet that my parents have begun it sounded very difficult and the first thing that came to my mind was how I would have to be a superhero to avoid all kinds of simple carbohydrates… hence Wonder Woman.  If anyone has will power, it’s her!



“Beauty on your own terms” – Week 4 Story Critique

smileThis week I looked at a Dove commercial.  Recently Dove has had a campaign to promote the healthy body image of women, and this is one of their more recent commercials.  Every day men and women are exposed to images showing what an “ideal” body looks like, and many people are left thinking that what they look like is bad or should be improved.  As I write this blog post I am sitting next to a large poster I have of Wonder Woman.  No one can argue that she isn’t awesome, but it is also clear that she was created and drawn with an “ideal female body type” in mind.

I will be critiquing this commercial using the following questions/criteria:

What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?

This commercial shows several different women, each sharing their story of how another person shamed them for an aspect for their physical appearance.  Whether or not the women wrote their lines themselves, it is clear that their voice is being expressed and their personality is being portrayed.

How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story?

Because this is a commercial, it is intended for a widespread audience.  Although the message is one that would benefit both men and women, I can imagine that it is intended for women who have potential to buy Dove products.  Given that the intended audience is so large, the story and purpose were very straight forward and easy to understand.

What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story?

I found this commercial on YouTube when I was watching workout videos.  Normally I skip the add as soon as I have the option, but I found myself watching this entire video and then searching for it so I could watch it again.  I know that YouTube is able to show people advertisements that are relevant to the video they are searching for, and because I was sifting through work out videos, this commercial was well fitted for me.  This commercial is also on television and perhaps on other websites/programs that show advertisements, such as Pandora.com.

Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?

As a commercial, I think this digital story is quite good.  As an overall message, or story that I would share with others there are some things I would change.  I would like to learn more about the women in the video.  For example, how did Heather get into boxing?  What made Jessica so interested in fashion?  And how did all of these women overcome the naysayers in their lives in order to be happy and do what they love?  I think this kind of information would benefit viewers and make this story that much more powerful.

Week 4 – Reading Response

This week’s articles:

  1. “Looking From the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy” – Davies and Merchant (2007)
  2. “Blogging For Mental Health” – Amy Novotney, American Psychological Association


“Looking From the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy”Blogging1

This week’s chapter discusses how Blogging has become a new literacy.  At the beginning of the chapter, the authors describe blogging using the word “autoethnographic,” which according to an online dictionary means “a form of qualitative research in which an author uses self-reflection and writing to explore her personal experience and connect this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.”

A few years ago I saw the movie “Julie and Julia” which tells the story of a woman who follows every recipe in Julia Childs’ cookbook.  She blogs about her experiences, failures, and accomplishments and builds a following online.  I must admit that before this class, and before really diving into blogging myself and becoming familiar with several other blogs, this “Julie and Julia” is the situation I thought of whenever I heard talk of blogging.  Throughout this course, and even after reading this chapter, my eyes are starting to open to the great things that blogging offers us.

One interesting fact statistic in this chapter is that there are millions of blogs with varying topics and varying places of origins.  I am very curious to know how many people have made these blogs.  What I mean to say is, are there as many people blogging as there are blogs, or are the majority of blogs created and worked on by the same people?  Are there a couple million people that have five blogs each, or 100 million people with one blog each?

On page three of the article, Davies and Merchant write, “blogs, as an emerging genre of digital communication, are characterized by a tendency to blend the personal with the public.”  This becomes ever more clear to me as I read more about blogs and as I participate more with creating my own.  I enjoy the opportunities to express myself, learn about others, and give and receive comments.

“Blogging for mental health”


In keeping the focus on blogging this week, I wanted to explore what, if any, health effects blogging has on its participants.  I read an interesting article from the American Psychological Association which discusses how blogging can be helpful for those impacted by mental illness.

We have begun to learn how easy it is to have a blog, and how helpful it can be to share opinions, ideas and questions with others in this class.  Similarly, it has been found that sharing experiences related to mental health through blogging has been helpful to many people.  Specifically, a study cited in this article mentions that publicly sharing stressful and/or traumatic experiences (via blogging) helped to lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and lower anxiety.  How wonderful!  Although it is important to note that blogging, while a helpful tool in coping with difficult situations, is not a replacement for professional therapy.

I think one of the most important lines from this article is the following: “Blogging can help chip away at the stigma of mental illness.”  I believe this to be true, and I hope that more and more individuals and groups are able to come forward and share their experiences through blogging in order to create more understanding from others.

Healthy Collage

I really enjoyed this week’s Design assignment.  For this assignment I was to create a collage using pages from old magazines.  See below for my finished product.


My theme for this semester is Health/Nutrition so I included images, quotes, etc. that encompass this theme.  My favorite part of this collage is in the top/middle where I wrote the quote, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”  At the beginning of the year I set a goal for myself to walk 1,000 miles in six months.  So basically, walk 1,000 miles before today, July 1.  I’m SO happy to be able to say that I accomplished this goal!


“Game Changer: Amy Cuddy, Power Poser” – Week 3 Story Critique


This week I chose a story from Time Magazine about “Power Poses.” I have previously seen the full TedTalk by Amy Cuddy about her research into Power Poses, but this was a shorter story put together by Time Magazine, and it was pretty interesting.

People convey their power, or lack thereof, through nonverbal displays.  Most people don’t know what they are communicating to other people through their body language.  Amy Cuddy and colleagues researched whether a change in a person’s body language equals a change in the way that person feels and/or behaves.  She simplifies this research by asking, “Can you fake it ’til you make it?”

I will focus on the following three traits when discussing this story further:

Content Understanding – How well did the student meet the academic goals of the assignment and convey an understanding of the material addressed?

  • Amy Cuddy mentions in the video that she is a professor at Harvard Business School and has been doing research on this topic for many years.  While this video is much shorter than the original TedTalk, Amy is still able to convey her understanding of the material and the important implications that it has for most people.

Research – Was the student’s project well researched and documented?

  • Absolutely.  Once again, however, I find that the meat of the information is more prevalent in the original TedTalk.  When comparing both videos, I realize that this Time Magazine version seems to leave out some background information about the study and about Amy as an individual.  That being said, I would suggest that people watch the TedTalk instead of this condensed version to better understand the research and the findings.

Presentation/Performance – How effective was the student’s actual presentation or performance? 

  • Within this short video, Amy did a good job breaking down the information for the viewer.  It is interesting to compare this story to the TedTalk, which has more a presentation/performance feel to it.  There is more media implemented into the TedTalk as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this version of the Power Pose discussion, but I prefer the TedTalk especially for those looking to gain a full understanding of ‘Power Poses’.  After watching this story, and thinking about my recent trip to ComicCon, I though it was vital that I post the image of Wonder Woman (mixed with Rosie the Riveter) demonstrating her Power Pose.  Ahhh-mazing, am I right?!