The group activity that we did on Thursday was incredibly useful to me. Lesley and I worked together for the first time, which I think was a really great idea. Since we had never worked together in a group or as partners, we had a fish perspective on each other’s projects; we had talked to one another about our projects before, but we had never gone into much detail. For that reason, I think it was really good that I got to work with Lesley. She offered lots of great feedback on what I had accomplished on website so far. Lesley gave me great suggestions about how to change the formatting so that it makes logical sense to my audience. She also helped me figure out how to add to my Critical Race Theory page so that it flows better and provides more information. Overall, I think this group activity was very productive and helpful.
Fiction or not, films, like other forms of media, shape our understanding and perceptions of the individuals or groups that they portray. For that reason, I decided to research the representation of a group that I was originally not very familiar with: LGBTQ+ Latinos. For my project, I am researching the representation of LGBTQ+ Latinos in films and how this representation influences perceptions of this group within cultures. By using the critical race theory, I chose to analyze two Latino films: Fresas y Chocolate (a Cuban film) and Cuatro Lunas (a Mexican film). My goal with this project is to contribute to research about LGBTQ+ and Latinos as well as reveal how our perceptions of others are not only shaped by media but also reflected in media. This way others can also learn how representation can impact what we think about and how we interact with those around us, especially groups/individuals that are different from us.
What I’m really trying to accomplish with this project is not only learn about the representation of LGBTQ+ Latinos in film but also share my research with others. I want to share my research because I want others to know how representation in media—in this case LGBTQ+ Latinos in films—influences society’s perception of certain groups. I am not super familiar with this specific group so I want to share what I learn that way others can learn too. I decided to make a website with the hope that it will be easier to share my project with more people as well as appeal to a wider audience; I want my project to be more hands-on so that people can interact with my sources and the films I chose. Because I am focusing on a form of digital media, I believe that it is important that I also create a project that is digital.
Since starting at Transy, I realize that I have learned a lot about how to write well and how to write papers for different class topics or perhaps different fields altogether; as I reflect on my initial Writing Portfolio, I realize that I have learned a lot about myself as a writer over the years. I have written a lot of papers or created projects that are centered on topics and issues that are very important to me. Not only that, I have created projects using mediums that are not traditional, such as a research paper. In the past, I have created videos with groups in class and even created websites for personal projects. All in all, I think these projects really reflect me as a person and writer because I have created projects that illustrate what I am passionate about. These projects and papers have not only helped me grow as a writer but also they have allowed me to learn a lot about all the different aspects of writing, rhetoric, and communication.
After reading Kathleen Blake Yancey’s chapter about “Representation-in-Presentation,” a few of her ideas and metaphors stuck out to me. One of the metaphors that stuck out to me the most is the concept of “What have I learned?” The reason that this called my attention is because it is very personal to me, considering my project for senior seminar. For example, I was–and still am–very interested in learning about LGBTQ+ Latinos and their representation in films. I am learning a lot about my topic as I explore articles (including scholarly articles) about film festivals, find different Latino films that depict LGBTQ+ individuals, and watch two specific Latino films. I can already tell that I am learning very much as I study the critical race theory and how it can be applied to LGBTQ+ Latinos representation in films.
In her chapter, Yancey begs the questions: What did I learn? How did this course help me learn? These questions are significant because I feel as though they are very applicable to me at the moment. I am not quite finished with my project, but I am already learning a lot. For example, I am learning about how a new theory and how I can apply it to the areas I am interested in by using it as a rhetorical methodology to analyze films. Creating website with Wix allows me to figure out how to present my research in a way that is not only visually appeal but also coherent. If I wrote a traditional research essay about LGBTQ+ Latinos, then I would construct my research in a very different without having to consider the aesthetic and visual components that are applied to a website. This course has allowed me to explore topics and learn what I am interested while encouraged me to try something new. Another thing I have learned about representation in films, which I understood existed before but I had never had examined it through an academic lens. Lastly, I have learned a lot about a group of people that I was not very familiar with before.
I feel like I am in a good spot with my project. Over fall break, I worked extensively on my website’s format and different pages/sections. For example, I figured out the aesthetic of the website that I think looks and works best. I also completed the “About the Project” page; on this page, I explain why I chose this topic as well as state my thesis. I created this page so that my thesis can clearly be found. There is also an “About the Author” page in which I describe myself so that audiences can learn about me.
Furthermore, there is a tab on the menu that’s called “Research.” This tab serves as a menu header; when you hover your cursor over the tab, 4 links to other pages will show up. The first tab is called “Critical Race Theory.” Over fall break, I worked a lot on this page. I described the methodology and how it relates to the LGBTQ+ Latino films and community. One of my sources that I included in my annotated bibliography helped me explain this theory. In addition to this journal article, I found an another source that I also referred to in order to describe the critical race theory. I wanted to create a specific page that described the methodology so that my audience can understand. Not everyone might understand the theory completely—or at all—which is why I wanted to include that page.
The second link is called “Fresas y Chocolate” and the third link is called “Cuatros Lunas.” I made separate pages for each film so that it’s clear to my audience which film I am focusing on each second. Of course I will reference both films on each page and even include a little bit of an analysis of both on each page, but I wanted to differentiate so that it’s clear for my audience. Over fall break, I added a bit of background information about each film on their respective pages. I did this so that my audience can understand what the films are about if they’ve never watched it before. The fourth and final link is called “Sources”; I wanted to provide my works cited on the website like I would in a traditional research paper so that my audience can know where I got my information.
I learned about how critical race theory can be applied to gender, which caused me to think about what sort of methodology I want to incorporate in my project. Since I am focusing on Latinos as well as the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important that I use a rhetorical methodology that fits both or will highlight how I am analyzing how films represent or silence this group. I learned about the oppression that comes from within the Latino community in regards to how LGBTQ+ individuals and the community is portrayed, accepted or not, etc. I’ve also learned about how Spanish male directors have influenced “lesbian filmic discourse.”
Over fall break, I intend watch the two films and take notes. I’ve already written how I envision the format of the website to look on a piece of paper; on this paper, I’ve started to map out what I want included in each section/on each page. I will start to flesh my website out more as well as add some research to it this weekend and next week.
Section 1.1 “Writing is a Knowledge-Making Activity” really resonates with me because I feel as though that I am playing a big part in this activity. I am “[generating] new thinking” and I am “mulling over a problem, thinking with others, and exploring new ideas or bringing new ideas together” (19). Because I am creating a project about Latinos within the LGBTQ+ community, I am developing research about a group of people that might not be well-known by others; therefore, I am “mulling” over what it is like to be a member of this group and bringing their struggles to light. I am also going to highlight Latino and/or LGBTQ+ organizations in Lexington so that this group can connect with others like them as well as find a support system.
Perhaps the quote that stood out to me this in this section (and the reading as a whole) is: “writers use writing to generate knowledge that they didn’t have before” (19). The reason that th is stood out to me is because it describes me perfectly. I do not have much knowledge about Latinos within the LGBTQ+ community because I am not a member of the group, but I am using this project to learn more for myself as well as spread information to others who are like me. For me, this goal of this project is to use my privileged voice focus on the struggles of and microaggressions geared at this group so that others can be aware too. Of course I do not want to talk over them; I want to help them, which is why I want to get in touch with organizations here in Lexington.