Tuesday, 29 March 2016

American Border Control

Against Immigration: 

For Immigration:

I believe that one of the most controversial discussions about border control in recent news has been in relation to Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the southern border, paid by Mexico, in an attempt to fully prevent illegal immigration from the South.

The website argues that for years, "Mexico's leaders have been taking advantage of the [US] by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country". Focusing primarily on the cost of illegal immigrants to the American tax-payer, "in healthcare costs, housing costs, wlfare costs etc", as well as disadvantaging jobseekers, Trump promises that the costs of building the border wall is significantly less than the above costs, and therefore the right choice.

They also use shock tactics and emotive language to convey their message, focusing on the "horrific crimes" which Illegal Immigrants have committed against Americans, in particular rape and murder. In addition to this, there is a clear focus on how the influx of illegal immigrants has negatively impacted employment of Americans, especially Black and Hispanic teenagers from working class backgrounds.
In this way, the website pits America against Mexico, stating that they "will not be taken advantage of anymore".

Trump vows for the return of all criminal 'aliens' back to their home countries, detaining all 'aliens' until this return is complete, increasing punishment for expired visas, and ending 'birthright' citizenships for children of illegal immigrants in the United States. This is Trump's attempt to end any 'loopholes' in the immigration system, especially the 'catch-and-release' of illegal aliens, which currently occurring in America.

Trump's website uses argumentative, emotive language and statistics to back up his promise of using a border wall to limit entry of illegal immigrants from the south of the border. It can be argued that this is coming from a biased standpoint, as in being a political candidate, he is making these promises in the hopes of securing votes from the public, especially those affected by illegal immigration.


The pro-immigration website I am looking at lists the arguments for immigration into America, and in this way starkly contrasts Trump's website. The site categorises the arguments; pragmatic, philosophical, traditional, etc. according to the nature of the arguments.

The pragmatic benefits look at the economical side of things, stating that 'immigration economically benefits Americans', rather than the general 'false' belief that it reduces wages of American citizens. One possible issue with the website would be that it generalises quite alot, stating that "immigrants are law-abiding and upright citizens" who "come to work, not to claim welfare benefits", and despite being a positive outlook, this is arguably idealistic and perhaps naive to assume. Similarly, however, Trump's campaign in relation to immigration also generalises immigrants, marking them as murderers and thieves. This highlights how both sites use positive/negative generalisations to win over the reader.

The philosophical arguments look at the rights of those who want to become American citizens, highlighting the 'freedom of movement' as a fundamental human liberty. This contrasts to Trump's ideology, with the idea of a solid wall to prevent movement into America as a physical barrier to restrict this right.

One of the things I found particularly interesting about this article was the 'American exceptionalism argument' in which it states that "The United States of America is one of the few countries where an immigrant can become American." This stands in stark contrast to Trump's beliefs, his website suggesting that immigrants only serve to rob, rape and murder American citizens, rather than having the potential to become as successful as an American-born citizen.

Monday, 28 March 2016

US Border Issues


This pro immigration organization, FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement) main commitment is for immigrant rights at local, state and federal level across the United States. Consisting of 30 organizations committed to immigrant rights from across the country, this website aims to both raise awareness of the issues faced by immigrants daily.

The main focus' of this organization is to: provide a path to citizenship for ALL members of the community, reunite ALL families and reduce immigration backlogs, provide opportunities for safe future migration and etc.. A large part of the organization's work is the focus on establishing a border policy that protects border communities, focusing primarily on the border between the USA and Mexico. 

Founded in early 2000, FIRM have created and hosted many projects and campaigns in order to raise awareness for immigration rights. Projects and campaigns such as: DREAM, which gave young immigrant adults the opportunity to temporarily be shielded from deportation and allow them to live and work legally in the U.S. by applying for "deferred action". 


This anti immigration organization, FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) is a non-profit organization which over 35 years experience and 250,000 members. Their main goal is to educate and increase public awareness of immigration issues, present solutions, hold our leaders accountable for answers, and ensure the public's voice is heard.

The belief of the organization is that "America has reached a point where perpetual growth cannot realistically continue within limited space". The website offers additional information regarding various immigration issues, such as, illegal immigration, legal immigration, national security, border security etc.. 

In comparing both websites, in how they address the issues, both websites and organizations address their opposing issues in formal ways, for example the pro website clearly lays out all the issues they hope to address and overcome for immigrants in the future. The anti website is similar as it likewise lays out the issues that immigration has causes to the united states and what they wish raise awareness towards.

I feel the anti website is very calm in terms of the message it is trying to portray as it does not post blame on any particular race or ethnic group, like many other websites, and likewise it uses paragraphs such as: "We understand that immigration policy involves sensitive and emotional issues, and we believe in respecting the basic human rights and the dignity of all involved. We also believe that immigration policies should not be based on favoritism toward, or discrimination against any person on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender or nationality."

The Mexican Border

American Border Control

This website is pro-border control and takes a very strong stance on the debate. There is few images or videos on this website and it is mostly text, it is more like a blog that posts regular articles and links. It appears that this website is made to provide information to people who are already fans and regular visitors to the site, as opposed to trying to attract new visitors and persuade them to agree with their point of view. American Border Control website opens up with a large headline that says "Mexico: Cartel Hell" in bright red letters, this invokes a feeling of danger and fear. Many of the articles are particularly biased in the topics they discuss and the emotive language they use to perpetuate the views of their readers, examples of this include "hyper-aggressive, paramilitary tactics" and "this ramshackle pueblo is the No. 1 drug distribution center". Many of the articles could be viewed as scare-mongering and they are also particularly vocal Donald Trump supporters. 

People Helping People in the Border Zone is an organization from the rural town of Arivaca in Arizona. It is part of the militarized Mexican American border. The organization strives to protect the rural town from an influx of immigrants however they also fight to protect the border through opening up the border in arduous and treacherous locations in order to deter people from trying to cross the border, in places such as the Sonaran Desert. They believe that militarizing the border will only have a negative impact on the rural villages and communities that will become involved in a border war. The language that is used on the website is much more objective and seem to put convey their opinion in a more reasonable way. The People Helping People in the Border Zone website also uses images and videos to show how their project works and attempts to motivate viewers to donate to their cause.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Education for American Women


I believe that the provision of education for American women has had a massive impact on the status of women in America today. This is significant in comparison to colonial America, as education for women was commonly in order to learn household chores and duties, to prepare them in their roles as wives.

One of the most significant factors in the road to education would be the idea of 'Republican motherhood', a 20th century term. Following the Revolutionary War, there were several changes in women's education, due to changing social patterns and the new Republic's citizenry expectations. Due to the themes of independence and self-reliance, the need for intelligent and virtuous citizens increased. This meant that the provision of education to women wasn't for their individual benefits, but rather to put them in the position to impact future generations. Several women at the time reaped the benefits of this opportunity, participating in the civic culture. However, any women who attempted a political career were ridiculed and discriminated against. Despite this, the Republican Motherhood was an important step for women, as it justified women's education and acted as a stepping stone in the road we continue on today, with several successful female figures, such as Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai continuing to fight for women's right to education in 2016.

A second major factor in the foundations of female education would be the establishment of schools for women, The opening of The Young Ladies Academy in 1787 was pivotal in said establishment, and was followed by several other academies being opened in early 1800's, their mission being to offer women an education equal to the same high standards which men had received throughout history.  Despite facing problems, such as teachers being overworked and having to skim over some subjects when teaching, this was also an incredibly significant event which led to coed public schools, and eventually the status of female education in America today.

To conclude, I believe that both of these examples factor enormously in the history of education of women in America, and are pivotal in the road to equality which we still travel in 2016.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Women in the Workforce and The Quiet Revolution

Women in the Workforce and The Quiet Revolution

During the period of World War 2 and the depression (1930-1945), more and more women were pushed into the work force than ever before. Due to the increase in male soldiers needed for the war, women had to take over the work load. This allowed women who had never worked before to experience freedom and the opportunity to make their own living through wages and salary. This both improved working conditions for women, encouraged a high level of women's participation in labour and overcame some racial prejudices against non-white women workers. By the end of World War 2, more women were working than ever before.

Following the end of World War 2, and the return of male soldiers, many women enjoyed the work they had been doing and felt that the freedom they experienced and this new ability of earning a living for themselves was something they wanted to continue. Following this more and more women found themselves attending colleges and grad schools to get a better education in order to start their own career. In the 1970's, also known as the 'Quiet Revolution' even more women began attending colleges and grad schools, many of which began to expand into the fields of medicine, law, dentistry and business. As described by Claudia Goldin, "the 'Quiet Revolution' is called such because it was not a 'big bang' revolution; rather, it happened and is continuing to happen gradually."  

In conclusion, I feel that World War 2/The Depression era as well as the 'Quiet Revolution' have a great impact on the status of women today, specifically on women in the workplace. Through the war many women were able to get a taste of freedom and independence through working while the men were away at war, this continued on the create the 'Quiet Revolution' which inspired women to get better education and find their own careers in life, something which is highly continued today. 

Voting Rights and Birth Control

The Passing Of The 19th Amendment

The day that women won full voting rights is an obvious milestone in the fight for equality. August 26 1920 saw the 19th Amendment passed by over three quarters of congress. It marked the end of an eighty year fight to ensure that all women were given the same basic right as men and offered the opportunity to dictate how their country will be run. It was through the work of incredible women such as Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony that the 19th Amendment managed to find its way through congress. On particularly interesting fact is that many of the women who fought in the suffrage movement where of Quaker faith, for example both Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony. This explains some of the fundamental beliefs behind the movement, particularly the idea of political equality. This strongly links with the core values that lead to the initial settlement of the United States of America.

The Invention Of The Birth Control Pill

The invention of the birth control pill in 1957 and its subsequentapproval for release in 1960 was a major turning point in the empowerment of women. It came shortly after the baby boom where increasing numbers of women were being forced into a housewife lifestyle due to pregnancy. At the time female employment rates had dropped since World War 2 and many women were beginning to experience frustration at the societal restrictions that were being placed upon them. The ease of access to the pill allowed many women to be sexually active without fear of becoming trapped by an unplanned pregnancy. It is also important to recognise that this is a form of birth control that is solely controlled by the women therefore removing some of the power that men had over them.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Representation in Orange is the New Black

Popular Netflix show, ‘Orange is the New Black’ is often viewed as being progressive, in its radical portrayal of gender, races, and sexuality. Therefore, I believe that the show is a good example of contemporary African American representation, especially for black women, by presenting a variety of characters with different backgrounds and personalities.

The ideas of separatism and assimilation are continually represented in ‘Orange is the New Black’, as when the protagonist, Piper, is first introduced to the prison community, the divide between prisoners is clear, with cell blocks being segregated and named “The Ghetto”, “The Suburbs” etc. according to the races of prisoners in said blocks. Separatism between races is also clear during cafeteria scenes, in which there is a clear divide, with the black women sitting together at one table, the Hispanic women at another, etc. Furthermore, throughout the series, there are conflicts between said racial groups, which only emphasises the division of them. An example of this would be the introduction of Vee to the prison, a black woman who takes control of the ‘Black Girls’ clique, and manipulates others, especially Suzanne, getting her to attack others, and further separate the African American prisoners from others during the second season. This is not to say that the black women are being completely forced into this separate community, as on several occasions, we see members of the ‘Black Girls’ clique mocking white culture, such as Poussey and Taystee doing impersonations of privileged white females, and talking about “yoga workshops”, “wine-tasting classes”, and veganism, suggesting the division is mutual.

In terms of assimilation, it can be argued that some African American women in the show may be deemed separate from the ‘Black Girls’ clique, through their personalities and interactions with white women. One prime example of this would be Sophia, a black transgender female prisoner, who regularly styles the hair of other prisoners. Sophia isn’t associated with the ‘Black Girls’ clique, and is seen interacting with white prisoners, especially Piper, more than the likes of Suzanne and Taystee. In this way, it can be argued that Sophia’s character helps to lessen the separatism between races in ‘Orange is the New Black’, although not completely.

Another interesting aspect to this representation of African American women in the show would be in considering the aspects of the characters, which are separate from their race, and how this contributes to the idea of the separatism between themselves and other characters. For example, Sophia’s transgender nature is always controversial, but is brought to the forefront in season 3, and the transphobia which Sophia continually faces only acts to further her status as a minority in this community, leading to her being attacked by a number of inmates, and facing literal separation by being thrown in SHU, to “protect” her. In a similar way, Suzanne is introduced to the show as a lesbian who almost stalks Piper, making her seem intimidating, but also a comical character in the way she acts, being nicknamed ‘Crazy Eyes’. Later, when it becomes clear that Suzanne has a mental illness, this also seems to further her separation, not only from white and Hispanic prisoners, but even the ‘Black Girls’ clique, as they don’t seem to understand or sympathise with her, especially after she is manipulated by Vee. There are countless other examples, such as Cindy converting to Judaism, and Poussey’s sexuality.

Therefore, I believe that the racial separatism within the prison is clear throughout the series ‘Orange is the New Black’, and is only furthered by other forms of separatism, caused by issues of identity, mental health, religion, sexuality etc. 
The Two key dates in U.S. history that really stood out to me as empowering for American women, and in many cases women abroad as a result were...

1776–1807: New Jersey grants women the vote in its state constitution. - A date that really surprised with its early recognition of women's rights. An incredibly outlandish move for that time period, it is way before the date that I personally assumed, baring in mind initial UK impressions of suffrage is very much the late 19th turn of the 20th century. 
A key moment because it paves the way for the women's rights movement galvanising other women around the U.S. and giving them hope.

April 2, 1917: Jeannette Rankin of Montana is formally seated in the U.S. House of Representatives as the first woman elected to Congress. - I picked this as a key date because it is arguably one of, if not the most, senior position ever taken by a woman in the U.S. based on individual achievement. Even though today the pursuit of equal gender rights is by no means a forgotten subject, the 20th. Century was in many respects a century for women in the way that the female image and lifestyle develops so rapidly, and it is all down to showing that if a woman can be in congress how can she not do other things? 

Overall, the significance of these two dates shows the the start of a 150 year journey that caused the rights that women so truly deserve to eventually be delivered, and the date in which a female in congress can start to change institutionalised sexism in the U.S. Political system.

Alright - Kendrick Lamar

The song 'Alright' by Kendrick Lamar was released as part of his Grammy winning, third studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly, on March 15th 2015. The album itself is critically acclaimed for its powerful political and social message and themes which run throughout the record. It touches on major topics ranging from gang violence, mass incarceration and institutionalised racism. This honest expression of many issues faced by African Americans is incredibly powerful and many have talked about the "Overwhelming Blackness" of the album. Kendrick Lamar uses musical aspects, as well as lyrical, to present the black culture, for example his use of blues and jazz influences. The record was released during a period where there was a major focus on police brutality and the treatment of African Americans, as well as the rapid uprising of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

'Alright' is seen as an anthem to black resilience and is used by activists. One example took place at Cleveland State University where people protesting police harassment began to chant "we gon' be alright", the chorus of the song. The rest of the lyrics of the song focus on themes of exploitation ("I recognise you're only looking at me for the pay cut") police brutality ("We hate Po-Po, wanna' kill us dead in the street fo' sho'") and temptations and desperation to make money when coming from a poor background ("I can see the evil, I can tell it, I know it's illegal I don't think about it, I deposit every other zero"). This song stands out in particular as it looks at these issues but continues to carry a hopeful message throughout and leads to the idea of one day reach a place where everyone will be "alright", perpetuating the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr.

The official video was released on June 30th 2015 and created a lot of controversy due to the message it conveyed and the imagery it contained. The video opens with shots of Compton, an incredibly poor area of LA that is a primarily African American population, it continues to show a group of black men smashing a car and drinking alcohol in the street, before a young black man is arrested and shot when he tries to run away. The video then cuts to a scene where Kendrick Lamar is in a car which is being carried on the shoulders of four white police officers. The video continues to show Kendrick Lamar floating above the people and streets of Compton, perhaps suggesting that he has 'escaped the hood' through his success. Due to this and the repeated use of money and gang imagery in the video it could be seen suggesting that music, gangs and money, in particular are the only ways in which African Americans can gain success in modern day America. The video ends with a white police officer shooting Kendrick Lamar down from the lamppost he was standing on and smirking after he does it, this could be seen as suggesting that no matter high up he gets, Kendrick Lamar and African Americans are still in danger. After he hits the ground, presumably dead, Kendrick Lamar smiles at the camera, telling the viewer he is still alright.

The song was also used in an advert to promote the Grammy's, where Kendrick Lamar was nominated 11 times. In the promotional video we see black men and women of all ages, speaking the lyrics of the song on the streets of Compton, this also conveys the idea that the purpose of the song is to uplift and inspire a sense of hope in African American communities.

One of the most controversial scenes in the music video shows a group of dancers standing on an abandoned police car. This is an idea that Kendrick Lamar had already presented the day before the release of the music video at the BET Awards, where he performed the song while standing on top of a vandalised police car, while dancers both on the stage and in the crowd invoked imagery of the Los Angeles and Baltimore Riots. This performance was particularly controversial, one example of this is the reaction of presenters on Fox News who stated that Kendrick Lamar and hip hop in general “has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism” and also argued that his performances was intended to incite violence against the police. These views could be seen as oppressing free speech and trying to put the cause of African American struggles as a fault of their culture and perhaps could be seen as evidence of institutionalised racism.

In conclusion the song 'Alright' calls upon many of the issues faced by African Americans, with particular emphasis on racism and the victimisation of black people by the authorities that are supposed to protect them. However the song is a key example of African American culture, with its blues and jazz influences on hip hop and through its themes and lyrical expression. In addition to this also invokes a positive and overall hopeful feeling from its listeners, providing the idea that African Americans and black culture are strong enough to overcome these issues and everything will be alright. 

African American representation in Boyz n the Hood (1991)

I chose to focus on an example from the film Boyz n the Hood (1991) by John Singleton, a film revolving around a black community in South Central Los Angeles. I chose the scene in which the character of Furious (Laurence Fishburne) explains the term ‘Gentrification’ to some members of the community.

This clip can be related to the representation of contemporary African American identity as Furious explains some of the troubles which black Americans face. Firstly he describes what is meant by gentrification and how it could mean that their neighbourhood could be bought and the black Americans living there will be told to move out. Furious’ solution to stop this from happening is to ‘keep everything in the neighbourhood black,’ thus suggesting that nobody will buy their neighbourhood if everything is black owned, perhaps due to racism or fear of African Americans which grew strong during the end of the 20th Century, due to the rise of ‘hoods’, which is also referenced within this clip by the quote, “its these folk, shooting each other and selling that crack.”

Other troubles for African Americans are explained within Furious’ speech such as the fact that ‘every time you turn on the tv, that’s what you see black people, selling drugs,’ and how it isn’t a problem when they turn up at wall street where they are hardly any black people. Also the reference to brutalities towards young black adults, who are ‘dying on the streets every night.’

Without actually mentioning white people, Furious referenced towards white people are being the villains in this situation with the repetition of ‘they’ and referencing to Iowa, Beverly Hills and Wall Street, in which 92% of the population of Iowa is white with only 3.4% African American.  

In terms of assimilation and separatism, I feel this clip relates more to separatism as it doesn’t appear as though the characters are very favourable towards white America or in favour of joining their community. Firstly I think this through the quote of ‘keeping everything in the neighbourhood black’ as well as the focus on white people being the villains in this story. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Three Brothers

On location of Resettlement Administration film near Bakersfield, California. Three brothers, drought refugees from Texas (note water barrel)

This is a photo taken in November 1935 by Dorothea Lange at a Resettlement Administration centre in California. The photo depicts three young boys who have migrated, with their family, from Texas. They appear to be sitting in a truck where all of their possessions are covered by a blanket. They also have a barrel of water, which conveys the idea of some of the difficulties faced by migrating families, for example the rarity of clean water, this is something that is made even harder in a hot and often drought stricken state such as a California. 

Knowing that the location the family have migrated from is in Texas, we could assume that they were fleeing the Dust Bowl and therefore clean water would’ve been seen as an incredible luxury. From the pickup truck that the family is driving it would be reasonable to assume that the family used to be farmers and therefore would be the most affected by the Depression and the Dust Bowl.

The fact that the photo shows three very young boys could be seen as showing them as "Perfect Victims" (a term coined by Lawrence Levine). This photo creates a sympathetic feeling from its audience. It gives the viewer a sense of the vast scale of the people affected by the Depression. As poverty was not new to the United States of America. It was seen as necessary to shock people by showing images of innocent children being affected by the catastrophe.

"Texas tenant farmer in Marysville, California" by Dorothea Lange

This photograph by Dorothea Lange, from 1935, depicts a family; a mother, father, three young children and a baby. The first thing which caught my eye in this photograph was the presence of a full family, as the majority of images which we looked at during the lecture showed single parents with children, or children as the only subjects. By showing a family with two parents, the viewer can identify the different gender roles at play in the picture, with the mother holding the infant child, a feminine image, and the father sitting, a more relaxed position, interacting with his toddler son.
A second aspect of the photograph which piqued my interest was the caption:

"Texas tenant farmer in Marysville, California, migrant camp during the peach season. 1927 made seven thousand dollars in cotton. 1928 broke even. 1929 went in the hole. 1930 still deeper. 1931 lost everything. 1932 hit the road. 1935, fruit tramp in California"

This is an incredibly interesting caption, compared to most which simply described the subjects and date of the photograph. Here, however, we learn about the past 7 years of this family's life, going from a successful cotton farm business, to losing everything as a result of the Depression, and having to start over. 

This can be linked with the idea of the 'American Dream', as it suggests that even if the Dream of wealth and success is fulfilled, even on a smaller scale, like breaking even on your family's cotton farm, this doesn't guarantee wealth and success for the rest of your life. The Depression affected everyone, more so farms, and this photo's caption encapsulates how the economic downfall completely ruined this Texan family's lives, and business, forcing them to complete relocate and restart. 

In addition to this caption evoking sympathy for the family, the children present serve to further this emotive tactic, guiding the viewer towards a sympathetic viewpoint of the family. As learned in the lecture, the parent's of the children in the photographs often put their children's appearance first, ensuring the children were hygienic and well dressed, before tending to themselves. This may be suggested in that the children in this photograph have clean faces, compared to their father's unshaven face. Despite this, the poverty of the situation is echoed in the lack of shoes on the children's feet.

To conclude, I believe that this photograph significantly depicts how the Depression greatly affected farming families at the time, and how poverty-stricken they remained years later. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Depression Era Photography

Drought refugees from Oklahoma looking for work in the pea fields of California. Near San Jose Mission. 1935. By Dorothea Lange

This image particularly caught my eye as it portrays what is viewed by Lawrence Levine as the "Perfect Victims". In this image the perfect victims; the children are used in an emotive way to make the viewer feel sympathetic towards the victims. Also the fact that no men are pictured within the photograph suggests that the men are out looking for work, while the women look after the children, thus enforcing the idea of gender roles in the 20th century. 

Also in the image we can see that they have a lot of luggage and what can be described as all their belongings in the back of their car, this along with the caption suggests that they have left their home or have possibly been removed from their home by authorities. 

In the picture we can see that the individuals are quite clean showing that they perhaps look after themselves and ensure to keep themselves looking clean, especially the children to give almost a sense of normality. The cleanliness of the people is contrasted to their car and belongings. 

This can be related to the American Dream as the image has been taken in California, a very western state, suggesting that the movement westward in hopes for the American Dream did not work out. Thus portraying it as a failure in obtaining their American Dream. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Technology And Consumer Culture In The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

One of the key themes in the novel The Great Gatsby, is the idea of technology and consumer culture. It is something that is crucial to the storyline, technology in particular plays an important part in the story line of The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is infamous for his large parties which are made possible due to the huge technological advancements at the time in which the novel was set, for example the advancements of radio and automobiles. Cars played an important part in the way in which the story unfolds. The Great Gatsby also explores the ideas of consumer culture as the novel very gratuitously glamourizes wealth and material goods, particularly Gatsby who often shows off his lavish lifestyle and wealth, one example of this is clear in the way he throws the shirts on the bed, showing them off to Daisy. We could also look at the way she enjoys seeing the shirts, as showing how impressed she is by his possessions and therefore shows the importance of material wealth at the time.

These ideas of the importance of technology and the power of consumer culture are still vital aspects of modern day society. No place demonstrates this as much as Silicon Valley, a mecca for digital programmers and technology start-ups. It is the home of huge tech companies such as Apple and Google. These companies feed the modern day consumer culture through their increasingly regular product releases, pushing newer and more advanced technology as the primary selling points behind their new devices.

Women and Liberty

Among the several themes presented in the Great Gatsby, gender is a key aspect in relation to the progression of plot; with Daisy as the reward for Gatsby to continually work and long for, and Myrtle as the source of conflict both before, and after, her death. Despite their influential presence in the novel, the female characters of the Great Gatsby are continually labelled as submissive and passive when compared to the likes of Gatsby, Tom, and Nick.
Daisy plays the key female role in the novel, introduced as Nick’s cousin, Tom’s wife, and eventually the love interest of Gatsby. Daisy is arguably the epitome of the trophy wife stereotype during the early 20th century, shown as captivating, demure, and incomparably beautiful. She is seen as an object, a prize which Tom has, and Gatsby wants. This is where the idea of liberty and freedom come into play; Daisy’s words are often hollow and dismissed by the other characters, signifying her lack of liberty as a person. This is further emphasised by Daisy’s failure to leave Tom for Gatsby and compliance in Gatsby taking the blame for Myrtle’s death. Daisy’s lack of liberty, however, means that she is safe by the end of the novel, contrasting to ‘free’ characters, like Gatsby and Myrtle, who didn’t survive.
In relation to more independent female characters, readers often suggest Jordan as a contrast to the likes of Daisy and Myrtle, in that she resists certain social norms. This is shown in her almost androgynous appearance, her lack of a husband despite being around the same age as Daisy, and her success as a sports star, a generally patriarchal vocation. The idea of liberty and freedom may also be applied to Jordan, as her engagement by the end of the novel may signal her conformity to the likes of marriage, and beginning as a wife and possible mother.
Myrtle, on the other hand, can be seen as a female character who isn’t entirely oppressed, nor is she entirely free. Presented as a powerful, seductive woman, Myrtle is clearly in control in her marriage with Wilson, a sickly, submissive man. Therefore, there is a sense of liberty in Myrtle’s confidence, and audacity to have an affair with Tom, a married man. It can, however, be argued that the Great Gatsby warns against a liberal attitude like Myrtle’s, with her death being a stark warning to the fate of adulterers. With this in mind, there’s clear irony in the fact that despite his part in the affair, the novel ends with Tom alive, well, and still married to Daisy, suggesting that only female infidelity is punished, in the end.
To conclude, within The Great Gatsby, there is a clear connection between the female characters, their freedom, and how this impacts their fate in the plot.

Recent Example:
In relation to the idea of Daisy being restricted and submissive, as an unemployed trophy wife, contrasting Jordan as an independent, successful sports personality, I believe that a relevant argument would be that of modern women choosing between a career, or a family. The two videos below explore this topic.