Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments

In her essay “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments”, Mary E. Hocks discusses how digital environments are designed with features like “audience stance, transparency, and hybridity” (629). The ” visual and interactive nature of native hypertext and multimedia writing” (629) makes it difficult for scholars to distinguish words from visuals, as Hocks suggests “Interactive digital texts can blend words and visuals  talk and text, and authors and audiences in ways that are recognizably postmodern (630). She references ” Gary Heba’s delineation of how html authoring mirrors rhetorical processes for composition” (630) and ” Patricia Sullivan’s arguments that expand our definitions of electronic writing to include graphics, screen design, and other media form” (630). The work of early professionals in “technical communication” that “demonstrated how rhetorical decisions impact the visual design of an online document or system” (630) alerted scholars  to think about the visual aspect of writing. Anne Wysocki stated that “computer-based interactive media can now blend text and images so thoroughly that they are indistinguishable on the screen (2010)” (630). These arguments have convinced teachers to redefine what we consider to be  writing. Hocks introduces the idea of interpreting new media as “hybrid forms” . As students we “look at artifacts such as online games or Web sites” (630) and we make  “assumptions about gender, age, nationality, or other identity categories” (630). Hocks states that all writing is hybrid that “it is at once verbal, spatial, and visual.” (631).  As interactive digital media has become a part of college writing courses, writing is now  “internetworked writing”-writing that involves the intertwining of production, interaction, and publication in the online classroom or professional workplace...

Should “He & She” Still Exist?

Gender fluid tank. “Identity is no longer clearly defined as female or male, but by increasingly visible manifestations of sexuality or lack thereof.” This quote, among many in Suzanne Tick‘s article “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” suggests that binary gender identification is currently being defied. In some cases, “traditional” gender roles (as we know it) have been manipulated and switched around. Tick argues that designers should consider the societal shift in their work to encourage the use of post-Modernistic styles, which will complement the progressive movement in identity. An example of post-modern design. Wide, open space. Large windows. Tick states male dominance is still heavily prominent in design, especially where the Modernistic form is still present. In other industries, such as in technology, male employment is statistically higher. Today, women are increasingly gaining access to leading positions and this change has been reflected in the architecture of buildings and selected materials used in the interiors. Since fashion trends change so often, they are first to undergo modification. A coat form Alexander Wang’s Fall 2015 clothing line had typical men’s style tailoring. Annemiek van der Beek debuted “a collection of make up for men“, though usually, make up is targeted to women. In defying gender, Tick included an account of students not putting their gender, refusing to identify with male or female. At the end of that paragraph, she refers to her audience using “we”, referring to her fellow designers about the need to accept nontraditional gender roles. The last section of her article shifts to the topic of bathroom and those issues should be dealt with in the workplace. She...

Reading Summary 3: Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’

The main purpose of this article is to argue about the setup of bathrooms. The author feels that the terms for entering bathrooms have been fixed. Bathrooms are clearly marked men and women but the author feels that it’s unfair especially for transgender people. The author also feels that if a mistake is made by a male of female and the wrong restroom is entered, it can put the person at risk to discomfort or even real trouble. Throughout the article, the author uses examples from different cases that have come about from the controversy of bathroom usage, specifically transgender cases. The author argues on the side that is for changing the bathroom laws and for bathrooms to become more accommodating to the transgender community. Bathrooms usage laws have been a controversy for many years because, “The problem is that this vastly oversimplifies the experience of transgender people and the biology of chromosomes, which can appear in other...

Reading Summary 4: His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society

The main purpose of this article is to argue for gender neutral design. The argument was made by one of the United States’ leading textile designers. The designer sees “gender-neutral design as the next frontier in the workplace.” The author starts off by stating, “We are living in a time of gender revolution. Traditional masculine and feminine roles are being challenged through advances in science and technology, and by cultural shifts stemming from the evolution of sexual politics and media depictions of gender.” The author believes, “Identity is no longer clearly defined as female or male, but by increasingly visible manifestations of sexuality or lack thereof.” She also believes that some of the today’s landscape are still designed in a Modernism point of view. Modernism is defined as a movement shaped by a predominantly male perspective. To help build her argument, the author uses examples such as the LGBTQ movement, workplace hierarchies, and bathroom...

Reading Summary 6: Better Online Living Through Content Moderation

The main purpose of this article was to teach about content moderation. Content moderation can be achieved through content control features. “Content control features — block and ignore functions, content/trigger warnings, blocklists and privacy options — are valuable to people who need to moderate their time online.” Control features are used as a way for people to either avoid people or certain types of posts that they may dislike. The article argues that using these controls can make the online experience more enjoyable. Control features are looked at in both a positive and negative light. They can be positive because a person has the choice to block thing that makes them upset or uncomfortable that they shouldn’t be forced to endure seeing. They can be negative because the person using these features can be judged as weak or too sensitive. This article focuses on three areas to help build a better understanding of content moderation and why it can be positive: 1) Computer-Chair Psychology, 2) Threatening Legal Recourse, and 3) Moving Towards a More Personal Agency over Online...

Reading Summary 5: Color Walking

The purpose of this short article was to teach us about color walks and to tell us about the authors’ own experience with color walks. Color walks were created by William Burroughs. “Back in the day, William Burroughs dreamed up a tool to inspire his students: color walks.” The authors of this article came across the experiment while working on the colors show and decided to give the experiment a try and write about their experience. In their trial of the color walk the chose to be flexible and switch from color to color. The authors stated, “We first ran across color walks in this blog post from Sal Randolph, which features two great quotes from Burroughs: “Color: William Burroughs Walking on Color”.” The instructions on how to do a color walk are simple. To perform a color walk, “Just walk out your door, pick a color that catches your eye, and watch your surroundings pop as you follow the color from object to object.” In this article, the color walk started at WYNC, in lower Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon. The first color they started out with was blue. Blues led to pinks which led to violets. Their color walk took approximately 14 minutes. At the end of their walk the described the walk saying, “…the colors hung in our brains and eyes.” They also stated, “We walked away seeing a world brimming over with colors: the rusty orange of a rooftop water tower in the sun, a bright blue mohawk, and the humble yellowy greens of a new leaf all jumped into our eyes.” The authors provided a...
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