Traditional vs. Modern Culture in When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision

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Traditional vs. Modern Culture in When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision In “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision,” Adrienne Rich discusses her view on the role of a woman writer by using examples of her own personal experience. As I look at my life, I can begin to understand how my own personal experiences can reflect the situation of many young women. I am tormented by which role I am supposed to play in today’s society. Am I to become the traditional mother and housewife? Should I flaunt my sexuality and become the female that the media is constantly portraying? Maybe I should be myself and follow my dreams to become an independent career woman, if that is even what I want. Young women in modern society are searching for the right answers to these questions and are basing these answers on their family, friends, and the media. I can recall a time when the media was influencing my life and actions. The week after I graduated high school, my girlfriends and I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico, where the MTV beach house was located that summer. As I look back on the week of drunken partying and sexy guys, I can only wonder how I made it home alive. How could any young woman find this behavior acceptable? Every young woman there was flaunting their bodies to the young men around them. They were proud to be sexual objects. Where did they learn such debauchery? This is the kind of woman that is portrayed throughout MTV and various other aspects of the media. They have even coined the term “midriff”—the highly sexual character pitched at teenage girls that increasingly populates today’s television shows—in order to hook the teen customer. Teenage women increasingly look to the media to provide them with a ready-made identity predicated on today’s version of what’s “cool.” The media is always telling us that we are not thin enough, we’re not pretty enough, we don’t have the right friends, or we have the wrong friends… we’re losers unless we’re cool. We must follow their example and show as much skin as possible. The type of imagery depicted by MTV-- as well as people like Howard Stern, the famous “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and various Hip Hop songs—glorifies sex and the provocative woman.

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