“Rize” by the famous photographer and director David LaChapelle, is an amazing documentary that showcases the dancing culture of South Central LA.

This culture is portrayed as the salvation for a community that is riddled with crime, drugs, and oppression.  The Clowning and Krumping dance culture in this film provides a positive outlet for the community’s youth as a form of “spiritual and artistic expression, as alternatives to gang participation, as a means for knitting social fabric” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436724/plotsummary).

Posted in Introduction to Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Social Problems, Social Stratification | Tagged , , , ,

Happy Together

Happy Together

Most of the media I have seen that showcase a  romantic relationship between a homosexual couple portray in a  stereotypical way.

For example the show Modern Family, which is groundbreaking in that it features a homosexual couple as one of the families, portrays the couple stereotypically sometimes.  For example, one of the partners enjoys dressing his daughter up as divas.

What I found very refreshing about the Hong Kong movie “Happy Together” (1997) is that the relationship of the homosexual couple lacks any stereotypical elements.  In addition, the fact the couple is homosexual it not important in the plot.

For a more detailed plot summary of this movie check out the following link http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118845/plotsummary

Posted in Gender, Introduction to Sociology, Marriage and Family, Sexuality | Tagged , , ,


Total institutions -such as rehabilitation clinics, mental institutions, or in the case of the movie Brothers (2009), being a Prisoner of war- have lasting effects on the people who leave them.

After a person leaves a total institution, it is very common for the person to come out with a fundamentally different personality, even causing family members to feel that they do not know the person anymore.  Since the very nature of total institutions is to break down a person’s previous socialization and rebuild them to fit the needs of the institution, this is not a surprising result.

The movie Brothers, explores this sensitive subject by looking at a released war prisoner’s experience coming home to his family.  The heartbreaking story shows how, because he was so irrevocably altered by the horrific deeds he was forced to do as a prisoner his family does not understand him.  Even his daughter begins to fear her father’s erratic behavior.

See the movie for yourself to explore the deep effects total institution experiences can have on families and society.

Also for a more detailed plot summary got to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765010/plotsummary

Posted in Introduction to Sociology, Marriage and Family, Social Problems | Tagged , , , ,

Super High Me

super high me

Super High Me (2007) is a documentary that follows Doug Benson -a comedian whose stand up revolves around marijuana use- as he spends 30 days without using marijuana and 30 days consuming the marijuana non-stop.

The goal of his experiment is to see what the “real” effects of marijuana use are on a person.  Even though the movie is a very lighthearted watch, it explores the deeper issue debate in public policy medicinal marijuana use.

A major focus of the documentary, regarding public policy and medical marijuana use is the differences in federal and state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.  For example, even if a state allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes, federal law does not allow this.  Therefore, the contradiction in the laws makes for a legal gray area.  Check out IMDb for a more detailed summary http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1111833/

Posted in Social Problems | Tagged , , , ,

Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women

Killing Us Softly

Many people hold the belief that advertising does not affect them, stating that they are the exception to its influence.  However, Jean Kibourne challenges this assumption in her shocking 1999 documentary called Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women.

Kilbourne argues, through a variety of advertising images and videos, that the portrayal of women in advertising is not only negative, but also related to violence against females.  For a more detailed summary check out IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0336699/plotsummary

Despite, the long history of negative images of women in advertising, newer advertisements such as the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty suggest that there is a movement towards positive change.

One of the videos that this campaign released greatly influenced the views of images shown in advertising today.  Take a look at it http://www.dove.us/#/features/videos/default.aspx[cp-documentid=7049579].

Posted in Gender, Introduction to Sociology, Social Psychology, Social Stratification | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Brown Eyes vs. Blue Eyes

brown eyes vs blue eyes

Brown Eyes vs. Blue Eyes (1968) is a famous experiment done by Jane Elliot, where she gives her third grade students “a first-hand experience in the meaning of discrimination” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/).  She does this by dividing her class superior and inferior categories by eye color.  This once peaceful class turns into a hostile microcosm of society, paralleling racism in the United States.

This special is available to watch online free.  See this link to watch Elliot’s life altering experiment: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/etc/view.html

Posted in Introduction to Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Social Problems, Social Stratification | Tagged , , , , ,

Standford Prison Experiment

stanford prison experiment

In the post Holocaust era, the question of how normal people could commit such horrid acts to one another haunted the American psyche.  Like Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo (1971), wanted to see how normal people could commit such horrid acts.

Therefore, Zimbardo decided to simulate a prison experience and see how people behaved when given roles of authority (“guards”) and how people reacted to this authority (“prisoners”).  The experiment, which was supposed to last for 2 weeks ended after 6 days due to the profound psychological impact the experience had on the subjects.  Simply put, the situation got to “real.”

This experiment is a disturbing example of how labels of authority can altar people.  For additional facts about the experiment, see the following link http://www.prisonexp.org/

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